Social media policy - what should be included

Social media policy – what should be included

Ensuring responsible use of social media by organisational employees continues to be a challenge for Australian Organisations.  We are observing situations where employees are using social media in a way that puts the organisation and/or its individual employees at risk yet when the organisation attempts to take ‘justified action’ they are advised by lawyers there is a limit to what they can do.
Why? Lack of a clear policy and, more than often, no training on the rules around social media use in that workplace. A successful unfair dismissal claim by a dismissed employee is the possible outcome for the unprepared organisation.

The solution starts with having a clear policy explaining the limitations around social media, reference to social media in the conduct policy, appropriate training and a culture of engagement in which workers DON’T feel inclined to defame, misrepresent or abuse fellow team members or the organisation. It must also be clear to employees that irresponsible use of social media can result in termination.

Interestingly training may vary from organisation to organisation depending on the tolerance levels around social media.  iHR Australia Managing Director Stephen Bell says “The truth is that some organisations thrive on their staff actively using social media to promote their organisation and products while others completely ban any reference to the workplace by individual staff via social media.” He believes that organisations should be explicit about the level of use that is tolerated.  “Even organisations that encourage staff to promote the brand on social media will have limitations. For example, few CEO’s want themselves or a staff member openly criticised on Facebook. These limitations have to be clearly described so they can be referenced should there be a breach of policy. Staff need to be clear on what the organisation views as irresponsible use of social media.”

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